DESY Research Director joins CERN management

Joachim Mnich appointed Director for Research and Computing at CERN from January

DESY Director Joachim Mnich to join the CERN Directorate. Image: DESY / Heiner Müller-Elsner

Same role, different research centre: Joachim Mnich, Director in charge of Particle Physics at DESY since 2009, will move to the European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN in Switzerland on 1 January 2021 to become Director for Research and Computing there. The particle physicist is the third DESY scientist in a little more than a decade to be appointed to CERN’s top management. Rolf Heuer swapped his position as DESY Research Director for that of CERN Director General in 2009 and stayed in office until 2015, and DESY scientist Eckhard Elsen was appointed CERN Research Director in 2016.

“I congratulate Joachim for this honour of being appointed to CERN and look forward to the future cooperation between our two centres," says Helmut Dosch, Chairman of the DESY Directorate.

The next few years will be decisive for the future of international particle physics, and CERN plays a central role in the planning and decision-making process. In spring, the European community of particle physicists determined the direction for the research field in a democratic strategy process. Now, as CERN’s leading voice on research, Joachim Mnich will play an important role alongside the CERN member states on the follow-up to the community’s recommendations for future projects. Moreover, he will oversee the upgrade of CERN’s flagship particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, which is a challenging international undertaking.

Joachim Mnich has been Research Director at DESY for twelve years. When he started in office, DESY had just switched off its own large particle collider HERA. The community of particle physicists at DESY joined the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) during Mnich’s term of office. By now, DESY groups not only form the largest German user contingent but also play a leading role in the upgrade of the LHC detectors for the high-luminosity phase, which will begin in a few years’ time. DESY’s participation in the Belle experiment in Japan and the establishment of a programme on the DESY campus to search for dark matter, an initiative in which CERN is also involved, also fall within his term of office.

“It is not easy for me to leave DESY. I have spent many exciting years here,” says Mnich. “But I am also looking forward to continue to actively shape the future of our research field at CERN.”

CERN and DESY have enjoyed decades of cooperation and will continue to carry out joint projects in the future, both through the strong cooperation in research at the Large Hadron Collider, and in future particle physics projects.